‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
In these rather strange and troubling times we are living in at the moment it is of course very easy to get depressed and down in the dumps. Many of us are naturally struggling to fill the time in the absence of being able to do normal things – like visit family and friends, go to the pubs, restaurants, theatres or cinemas. So what to do to stave off the COVID19 blues? Some people are playing board games, some are listening to music, others are on their play stations or Xboxes.
However if you are like me (a notoriously obsessed film geek) you may be raiding your dvd/blu ray collection or trawling though Netflix and Amazon Prime in search of some thing to watch. So to help you all out I have compiled a few lists of films and box sets to see you though the coming weeks.
Next Up: Recommended Box Sets on Netflix and Amazon Prime
Hunters (Amazon Prime)
Breaking Bad (Netflix)
Sex Education (Netflix – its a comedy before anyone gets the wrong idea!)
The Walking Dead (Amazon Prime)
Fear The Walking Dead (Amazon Prime)
The Witcher (Netflix)
Designated Survivor (Netflix)
Taken (Amazon Prime)
The X Files (Amazon Prime)
Picard (Amazon Prime)
Better Call Saul (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Star Trek Discovery (Netflix)
The Man In The High Castle (Netflix)
Bosch (Amazon Prime)
Vikings (Amazon Prime)
I’ll be back with more lists to help get you through the current Film and new release shortage!
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: El Camino : A Breaking Bad Movie picks up seconds after the end of the much loved TV series. Yup the cast have aged somewhat but that’s suspicion of disbelief aside there’s a lot to enjoy here. Was it an essential addition to the near perfect TV show? No. In fact if you never watched El Camino you’d not be missing that much BUT if you want some serious fan service and a bow tied around the end of the show once and for all then this is the film for you. It’s got cameos, call backs as well as a few surprises along the way and all in all it’s great fun. One for the fans.
Best Bit: THAT cameo. Oh and Forster’s last movie role.
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)
If You Liked this Try: Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Sopranos
Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…
2018 was another epic year for TV. Even if we did miss Game of Thrones! Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime delivered again and even the BBC and YouTube jumped in with a good show or two. Here’s my lost and the 5 best and The Worst TV shows of 2018…
The Must Watch…
TV Show of The Year: Cobra Kai Nostalgia helped but Cobra Kai managed to step outside that to become a truly excellent Tv series. Compelling, funny and FAR better than it had any right to be Cobra Kai delivered across it’s first season and ended leaving you wanting more.
2. Nailed It In Brief: No i’m not going mad. Nailed it is bloody brilliant and grabs you with it’s ample charm and silliness. It’s a show you can watch with your family (I do) and one that defines compulsive binge viewing.
3. Better Call Saul In Brief: Better Call Saul finally gave us Saul Goodman this year and ended on a the dark downward spiral that would bring the character to what we know him in Breaking Bad. It was captivating stuff, brilliantly directed and expertly acted.
4. Billions In Brief: Billions is just insane. Lewis and Giamatti relish in their roles as they raise the fuckery weekly. It’s sharp, silly yet brilliant all at the same time.
5. American Vandal In Brief: Season 2 of American Vandal took the ball and ran with it. A poo based mystery once again played with all the tropes of the Serial style true Crime genre and delivered laughs, shocks and a mystery that kept you glued to the screen.
Bubbling under: Star Trek Discovery (ending the season strong), The Waling Dead (Season 9 has reinvigorated the series) , Silicon Valley (Still delivering even without TJ Miller), Sharp Objects (trippy as hell), GLOW (a strong second season) , Bodyguard (Slick BBC thriller)
The Must Nots…
Miss of the year: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
In Brief: I loved the first series of American Crime Story. It was amazing. But for me the second series just didn’t connect. Much like the Serial podcast the bar was SO high the first time out that Season 2 was always going to struggle. And Struggle it did. Overlong, confusing and at times dull there was little to grab me.
Other shows I check-out ion this year: American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Westworld, Altered Carbon, The Terror, Luke Cage, Iron Fist , High Maintenance
Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five. This time out: Upcoming/Returning TV Shows
Close but no cigar:Maniac, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things
5 – Ozark The first season of Ozark was a pleasant surprise and will the second series of Ozark about to drop all eyes are on whether it can deliver another killer year.
4 – Jack Ryan A big budget Amazon TV show, this has the promise to finally realise the potential of this franchise.
3 – Fear The Walking Dead Returning for the second half of it’s fourth season, FTWD is on a roll. Taking the series in a new direction, it’s now a much better show that The Walking Dead and well out of it’s sister shows shadow.
2 – Myans MC OMG! It’s a sequel to Sons Of Anarchy, one of the best TV shows of the last decade set in the time frame (which means cross overs!) and featuring Edward James Olmos. I mean what more could you ask.
1 – Game Of Thrones Officially announced for the beginning of 2019, the final series of Game Of Thrones promises everything, Will it deliver? Who knows but man the excitement after a year off is almost unmeasurable.
2017 continued TV’s dominance over film. With new shows launching almost weekly on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime it was hit after hit with shows like Glow breaking new ground (well kinda) and the old guard like The Leftovers and Game Of Thrones hitting to put the park. Here’s my lost and the 5 best and The Worst TV shows of 2017…
(Yet to watch Narcos Season 3 or Punisher)
TV Show of The Year: Billions In Brief: Season 1 of Billions was good but didn’t hit “great” for me. Yet Season 2, playing like a suped up cross between Wolf Of Wall Street and Boiler Room just knocked it out the park and then some. Pacier, sharper and rounded, Billions just threw out great episode after great episode and did something really special – made an unlikeable lead character into someone you DIDN’T want to lose.
2. Game Of Thrones In Brief: It’s second to last season Game Of Thrones upped the pace, threw in some major events and introduced the theory of “jet packing”. In truth it didn’t matter. Whilst the storytelling has diminished the action, pace and fun has increased making for a breathtaking run. Oh and THAT ending. Just wow.
3. Stranger Things In Brief: Season 2 fell SLIGHTLY short of Season 1. But that still makes it one of the best shows on TV. With more characters, more back story and more episodes Stranger Things suffered a little from not being as tight as it was last year but by upping the horror it was for sure scarier than ever.
4. The Leftovers In Brief: For a show I quit in Series 1, it’s pretty amazing to have the show end as one of my favourites of the year. But on the back of a knockout season 2, Season 3 pulled it all together in a surreal, confusing and often oblique way. No clear answers were given but there was enough threads to draw conclusions. Beautiful, clever and frustrating.
5. Silicon Valley In Brief: Into its fourth year, Mike Judge’s tech comedy continued it’s impressive recent run with another constant and entertaining season. Whether it can maintain next year with the loss of TJ Miller is another question but for now it’s still one of the best shows on TV.
Bubbling under: Veep (funny as ever), Better Call Saul (captivating stuff) Fear The Walking Dead (now MUCH stronger than The Walking Dead), Mindhunter (Top Notch stuff from David Fincher), House Of Cards (Bloody good, even with all the issues), Line Of Duty (Proving the UK can still smash it out the park), GLOW (brilliant fun), American Gods (Insane), Star Trek Discovery (the makings of something special), American Horror Story Cult (One of the strongest season yet)
Miss of the year: The Walking Dead
In Brief: Second year running! Falling from one of the best shows on TV at its height, The Walking Dead has been on a massive decline the past two seasons which culminated with a recent run of episodes that took on and then royally botched the All out War Arc from the graphic novels. Add to that the recent ‘death’ of a major character (which would have meant MUCH more if it had been earnt), some terrible editing and increasingly poor production values (save for the VFX) and you have a show so far from it’s good days that it mostly now exists to be ‘hate’ watched.
Shame because in the right hands this show could have been unstoppable.
So 2016 continued the golden age of television, outstripping it’s movie counterparts and delivering more essential must see content than any other medium: even with so many great shows either ended or in their twilight years. So here’s my run down of my 5 favourite TV show for 2016… with a few nearly rans for good measure.
(Yet to watch Narcos Season 2 or Luke Cage)
TV Show of The Year: Westworld In Brief: With a Nolan attached, THAT Cast and all the money HBO could throw at it Westworld could still have been a catastrophic flop BUT it wasn’t. In fact it was revolutionary. Yes Westworld is THAT good. From it’s complex plotting to it’s cinematic visuals, Westworld was a remake done right. It’s just a sham we have to wait until 2018 to get the next part of the story…
2. Stranger Things In Brief: Every so often a show or film comes from nowhere and captures the imagination of a generation, becoming a cultural phenomena along the way. Stranger Things was THAT show. The Spielberg/ Carpenter influenced style reminded everyone who lived through the 80’s how good the decade was (and how ripe it is for material like this), whilst the narrative, effects and performances kept people coming back for more. With Season 2 production started, the Duffer’s have a mountain to climb to reach these heights again.
3. Game Of Thrones In Brief: Once again hitting the Top 5, Thrones continues to be one of the best things on TV and season 6 was a real highlight. From the reuniting of certain siblings, to the death of one of the most hated characters in the show Thrones stepped outside the constraints of its source material, picked up the pace, delivered several WFT moments and gave us a view on the future to come. In short: Winter is coming. And so are Dragons
4. The People Vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story In Brief:Who saw that coming? A TV recreation of one of America’s most infamous trials starring a forgotten DTV Oscar winner alongside John Travolta and Ross from Friends, from the guy who made American Horror Story? It couldn’t work. But it did. In spades. And man was it good, delivering one of the best episodes of TV in 2016. Gooding Jnr delivered as the narcissistic OJ but it was Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark that stole the show. If you missed it then you missed out for sure.
5. Silicon Valley In Brief: Into it’s third year, Mike Judge’s tech comedy delivered it’s most constant and entertaining year to date. Yes it’s throw away stuff but it’s damn funny with it. It’s also sharp as a tack satire on the stupidity and excess of the Tech hub of the world with a convincing cast and cracking scripts.
Bubbling under: Jessica Jones (another high quality Netflix/ Marvel TV show), High Maintenance (as surreal as comedy gets), Vice Principals (biting dark comedy), Veep (continued to graft another strong year), The Night Of (Started well, dropped of a bit by the end), Better Call Saul (even stronger than last year), The Flash (ended season 2 strong and began Season 3 with a bang), Ash Vs The Evil Dead (still delivering)
Miss of the year: The Walking Dead
In Brief: It wasn’t a BIG miss but the let down of Season 6’s ending (yes THAT cliff-hanger) after the Glenn fake out followed by a mostly lacklustre Season 7 so far has, for the first time, left me loosing a little interest in Rick and his crew. The show is far from done for sure and there are still some great ideas and moments (Negan when used correctly is awesome) in it but overall it’s lost something this year and could be the sign that the shows lack of end game is starting to bite them.
so 2015 quite simple smashed it out the park. Whilst film faltered, TV just kept getting better and better. So here is the run down of my 5 (well 6) top shows of 2015…
TV Show(s) of The Year: Narcos & Daredevil In Brief: I just could split these two top notch Netflix shows. Daredevil gave us what is probably the best version of a Marvel TV show we could have hoped for along with by far the best Marvel villain in Wilson Fisk whilst Narcos gave us a crime Tv show with edge, bite and style. It’s no accident that Netflix have multiple mentions here… they are winning TV hands down.
2. Game Of Thrones (Spoilers) In Brief: Bloody hell. This get’s second place just for THAT episode let alone THAT ending. Okay so it lost it’s way on some of the sub plots but overall this show just gets bigger & bolder whilst smashing the boundaries of what to expect on TV.
3. Better Call Saul In Brief: Who knew? A prequel to Breaking Bad which not only did suck but ended up being one of THE TV highlights of 2015. Now as long as it can continue to carve it’s own path in 2016 we should be in line for something quite special.
4. Ash Vs Evil Dead In Brief: It’s the show that we never thought we’d get became the show that we never thought could deliver which cam ether show that not only delivered but delivered BIG. Okay so most won’t care but man this is every bit the Evil Dead TV show we wanted. Gore, Swearing, Ash…. yup.
5. Hannibal In Brief: Hannibal ended on a bloody high, one of the most out there TV shows I’ve ever seen. From the performance to the production, Hannibal was high art does as TV. It did things it’s own way and boy did it never compromise.
Bubbling under: Justified (Just misses out on a top 5 spot but what a season), The Walking Dead (strong season), Fear The Walking Dead (excellent debut), Doctor Who (Best season yet), Sons Of Anarchy (finished on a high), Flash (built on a great first year), Gotham (Oh my god, the improvement from season 1 to 2 is amazing), House Of Cards (weakest season so far but still excellent)